Dwight Howard: Comments on Leg Prove He Will Not Be Full-Strength for Opener

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Pau Gasol #16 and Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers look on from the bench in the game with the Golden State Warriors at Save Mart Center At Fresno State on October 7, 2012 in Fresno, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Dwight Howard is still whining. He is no longer in Orlando, and yet he's still talking about his turbulent year last season.

Well, actually, when it concerns his own health, he can get a pass.

Howard recently told the Los Angeles Times that his back injury affected his nerves to the point where he couldn’t feel his left leg. Here’s the entire quote in full:

"What a lot of people don't know is when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead basically," the Lakers center said Thursday. "I couldn't do a calf raise." – via LA Times

Howard’s words shed some light on how intense his back injury last season truly was. In this light, his absence in the Lakers’ next game against Utah seems more appropriate.

Perhaps these comments should temper expectations for the star center’s return to the hardwood.All in all, he may take longer to get to full strength than expected.

Laker fans, hold your collective breath.

After all, any injury involving the back should be handled with extreme care. Especially when "season opener" and "NBA championship" don’t have much of a correlation.

Before Laker fans start throwing tomatoes at me: Howard has decided to leave his game status in the hands of Lakers’ trainer Gary Vitti, or “Father Vitti,” as Howard has dubbed him.

When Howard puts his full trust in his “father figure” to choose whether he will play, there’s something more serious going on than seems to be the case. Dwight’s a 26-year-old mammoth of a man who could work his way into the lineup for his LA debut if he really wanted to.

Even when Howard does throw down his first vicious alley-oop from Steve Nash, the Lakers are sure to monitor his minutes.

No 40-minute outings for Howard just yet. This back injury is no quick fix, and with the talent Los Angeles is fielding, they’ll get by without Superman in uniform.

The Lakers may not be complete on Day 1, but they’re taking the long road with Howard. His back issues sound serious enough to warrant attentive care.


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